Ricotta-Mascarpone Mousse with Balsamic Strawberries

Ever stumble upon something that everyone else seems to know about or has tried, but for you it’s a brand new oh-my-gosh discovery, and then you feel like an idiot, because, where have you been?

For me, that something was the combination of fresh strawberries, sugar and balsamic vinegar. I’ve certainly heard rumblings about it (check out some of the links at the end of this recipe), but the idea of adding any kind of vinegar to strawberries just didn’t seem right. How wonderful to be oh-so-wrong.

Of course you do need to use balsamic vinegar, an aged, deeply flavored, somewhat sweet vinegar; an ordinary vinegar probably won’t taste that good; if that’s all you have use some grated lemon zest and a little lemon juice instead.

The mousse is extremely easy to make – folded together whipped cream, mascarpone and ricotta cheeses. This recipe is based on one from our local Sacramento food celebrity chef, Biba Caggiano, and is a great mostly make-ahead recipe for summer entertaining.

Ricotta-Mascarpone Mousse with Balsamic Strawberries Recipe

  • Yield: Serves 8.



  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 pound whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 8 ounces mascarpone cheese
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • Grated zest of one lemon
  • 2 pounds strawberries, hulled and cut into quarters
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, or to taste


1 In a medium bowl, beat the cream until soft peaks form.

strawberries-balsamic-1.jpg strawberries-balsamic-2.jpg
2 In a large bowl combine the ricotta, mascarpone, 1/2 cup of the sugar, and lemon zest. Using an electric beater, whip the ricotta-mascarpone mixture until thoroughly combined and smooth.

3 Gradually fold the whipped cream into the ricotta until the mixture is smooth. Cover and refrigerate for a couple of hours.

4 Put strawberries in another bowl. Half an hour before serving gently mix in the remaining sugar and balsamic vinegar. Make sure you don't let the strawberries sit in the balsamic vinegar much longer than 30 minutes before serving or the acidity of the vinegar will cook the strawberries.

5 When you are ready to serve, fill glass bowls halfway with the strawberries and their juices. Spoon on the ricotta-mascarpone mousse or use a pastry bag to pipe the mousse.

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Early strawberries in balsamic vinegar from Maki of Just Hungry
Strawberry balsamic truffles from Brownie Points
Honey-balsamic strawberries with vanilla mascarpone from Anne of Anne's Food


  1. Felicia

    A friend of mine picked up a bottle of 18 year old balsamic vinegar at a wine shop and I made a similar dessert with it – the strawberries marinated in the vinegar for a few hours and then we topped it with a marscapone based topping – similar to the consistency of zabaglione. The combination of the sweet acidity of the vinegar and the creaminess of the marscapone is simply divine. Yum! I will have to give this mousse a try as the topping next time.

  2. cab

    I had forgotten about basalmic vinegar on strawberries. I used to serve strawberries that way all the time. Then I moved to topping strawberries with a dollop of Trader Joe’s 0%fat, greek yoghurt and a teensy sprinkling of brown sugar. Marscapone here I come!

  3. Mercedes

    I adore mascarpone mousse, and the addition of ricotta is just perfect. I once had a balsamic ice cream paired with strawberries, it was divine.

  4. Jane

    I make something similar for a no fuss slightly fancy looking dessert. I put 1/4 C. of Balsamic and 1/4 C. of honey in a pan on medium heat and reduce to a nice syrup. I lightly sugar the strawberries and let them macerate for an hour or so in the fridge. I serve them in a compote with a generous drizzle of the syrup and some fresh whipped cream or a mascarpone/whipped cream. I will have to try your mousse though – it sounds divine.

  5. jackie

    I would love to know some specific balsamic vinegar recommendations. I’ve heard Trader Joe’s carries some good ones – which ones??
    I want to try this recipe!!

  6. Alice

    Add some freshly shredded basil leaves to the strawberries and you’ll drool even more!

  7. Patti

    I serve vanilla panna cotta with balsamic strawbetrries over it. It never fails to win raves from my guests. Try adding 1/2 teaspoon very finely ground pepper to the strawberry balsamic mixture. Yummy!

  8. Gira

    I have some pomegranate balsamic at home, been waiting for a good recipe to try it out with and this looks perfect.

    For a quick and easy dessert, I’m in the habit of mixing a couple TBSP mascarpone with 1/2 cu or so ricotta. A couple tsp of sugar or sugar alternative, flavoring of your choice (I prefer almond flavoring or rosewater with this dessert, vanilla seems to overpower it) and voila. If made with sugar alternative, this is a no-carb dessert.

    A good substitute for ice cream or pudding when you’re in the mood for a creamy dessert.

  9. Zoe

    Balsamic vinegar is one of my absolute favorite foods/flavors, and I love strawberries, so when I heard about combining them about a year ago I was thrilled. I love the combination. I also like balsamic vinegar on vanilla ice cream — just a little, of course, and it has to be really good quality vinegar. I have a ten year old brand I like to buy, but I can’t remember the name right now.

  10. Lisa

    This is amazing! The strawberries are sweet and tangy, and the mousse has the rich flavor of cheesecake and lightness of whipped cream.

    I used Splenda instead of sugar, which was just fine.

    Next time I would double the strawberries for this amount of mousse. As the recipe is, we ate all the strawberries and have two cups of leftover mousse! I guess there are worse problems to have…

  11. Andi

    I love mascarpone and I love strawberries with balsamic vinegar – this looks like it would be wonderful with some crushed amaretti cookies on top.

  12. savory_fan

    Oh, Dear Elise! It was delightful. Sweet cheese mouse and a little sour strawberries…I am thinking about to add next time a little aspic to the mouse and freeze it. Than you very much for this wonderful recipe.

  13. arcey

    Just came back from a dinner that I brought this dessert to. It was a big hit! Thanks so much – this one will definitely go into my summer dessert repertoire.

  14. Karen

    wow-love balsamic syrup over strawberries a la Mediteranean cooking. Try 1/4 c pure maple syrup, boil down to glaze pork tenderloin. First tried this with Nestea sweetened iced tea-fabulous glaze!

  15. Kimberly

    I made this for the mother’s day brunch I did for my mom this year. We enjoyed this refreshing dessert SO much! Then I had the leftovers for breakfast the next two days: soooo good! Thanks for a great recipe!

  16. Josette

    I just made this for my sister who just had a baby this week. SHE LOVED IT!! A nice change from the desserts I usually make. definte keeper.

  17. Sara

    I’m interested in trying this, but I’d like to make it a day in advance of the dinner I’d like to have it for. I’ve seen other recipes for balsamic strawberries, they say you should leave the strawberries in the liquid for a few hours or even overnight. This recipe says not to leave them in the liquid for more than 30 minutes – maybe I should bring the ingredients in a separate container and mix it up while we eat dinner?

    If you leave the strawberries in the vinegar overnight, they will turn to mush. I would bring the ingredients in a separate container and mix while you eat dinner. ~Elise

  18. kris

    This was awesome, even the three-year-old loved it! Thank you for your wonderful recipes.

  19. naomi

    How do you think this would be served in chocolate cups?

    That’s an interesting idea. If you try it that way, please let us know how it turns out for you. ~Elise

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